Knock knees can be a difficult condition to handle. Although it usually affects children and most of them grow out of it, it can also sometimes affect adults. The condition can cause pain, discomfort, and affect your feet, hips, and back.
Figuring out how to sleep with knock knees comfortably can also be tricky. Your knee alignment can ruin a good night’s rest, but sleeping wrong can also worsen the joints’ alignment, so it’s hard to get right.
Here’s our advice for sleeping comfortably with knock knees so your legs stay pain-free and you still get enough rest!
What Exactly Are Knock Knees?
Knock knees are a condition that affects the alignment of your knee joints. Your knees turn inwards and tend to touch while standing or walking. As your feet stay apart, this causes a distinctive X-shape in your lower half.
It’s most common in children because it’s part of normal growth. But while most children outgrow it, it can persist in some.
In rare cases, it can also develop as an adult, usually due to a disorder or disease—such as rheumatoid arthritis—or obesity, which places pressure on the joints.
The misalignment of the knee joints can place extra stress on the outside of the knee. This can lead to pain and instability in the knees, as well as in the hips.
There’s no quick cure for knock knees. Some treatment methods may include physical therapy, leg-strengthening exercises, and treating the underlying cause. In severe cases, surgery may be done.
How Do Knock Knees Affect Your Sleep?
Even if you’re being treated for knock knees, it takes up to a year for the treatment to be effective. Learning how to sleep with knock knees will help keep you as comfortable as possible while undergoing treatment.
A decreased range of motion in your legs may create discomfort when you’re in bed. You may also experience pain as your knees collide during the night as you move.
Your knees may rest in an unnatural position while you’re asleep, which can lead to sore, stiff joints during the day. When your knees are interrupting your sleep, the poor quality of your sleep can also lead to impaired focus during the day, mood swings, and even overeating.
Studies also show that better sleep leads to less knee pain during the day, so it’s in your best interest to get a good night’s rest!
Tips On How to Sleep With Knock Knees
Although you will naturally move during your sleep, taking some steps can help you to protect your knees, leading to better joint health and improved sleep. Here are our top tips on how to sleep with knock knees.
Place a Pillow Between Your Knees
This works best with a firm pillow. If the pillow is too soft, it won’t stop your knees from bumping against each other and causing pain. It works best if you fall asleep lying on your side with the pillow between your knees.
The pillow helps prevent your knee bones from bumping against each other while asleep. As you fall into a deeper sleep, you may move out of that position, and the pillow may fall away between your knees.
This is unavoidable, so don’t worry about it. However, if you wake up during the night and notice that the pillow has moved, replace it between your knees and fall asleep this way again.
Try to Avoid Sleeping On Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach naturally causes your neck and head to turn sideways. This position can place stress on the kinetic chain, pushing muscles and joints out of alignment.
This could harm your knee joints, as the joints above them go out of alignment and place more stress on those joints lower down.
Sleeping on your stomach also often means you’ll lift one leg up as you sleep, which can cause the pelvis and hip joints to go out of alignment.
You should try to sleep on your side with your legs slightly bent. This allows everything from the neck to the legs to follow a natural curve, reducing stress on all the joints, ligaments, and muscles.
Don’t Sleep Too Close to the Edge of the Bed
If you sleep close to the edge of the bed, there’s a chance that you may end up hanging one leg over the side of the bed. This can worsen the misalignment in the knee joints, putting more strain on the muscles and joints of your legs.
If you sleep on one particular side of the bed, this could often happen on the same leg. This can lead to even more severe misalignment of the joints, leading to worse complications.
Not everybody will hang their leg over the edge of the bed. But it’s a possibility that could happen, especially in warm weather. If you feel this may happen to you, try to sleep in the middle of your bed if possible.
If you share a bed, you might need to get more creative to prevent this from happening. Place pillows or a rolled-up blanket along the side of the bed so there’s a barrier to prevent your leg from moving over the side.
Tips to Make Sleeping With Knock Knees Easier
You can also take steps while you’re awake to ease the pain and reduce the discomfort that comes with knock knees. As well as taking steps to improve your sleep with knock knees, try these steps to help improve your knee alignment.
Wear a Knee Brace
Knee braces can provide support to the misaligned joints, reducing pain and improving comfort. Some knee braces are designed to be worn during the day and offer a good range of motion while supporting support.
Other knee braces are better worn while at rest, as they immobilize the knee joint. This provides excellent support for the joint and can alleviate pressure on the side of the knee.
Knee braces are often used together with physiotherapy, so the knee gets enough exercise but is immobilized to prevent overuse of the joint, which could lead to injury.
Do Exercises for Knock Knees
Sometimes, knock knees can be caused by weak muscles around the knees. Performing exercises designed to strengthen this area can improve your knock knees over time.
Studies show that regular resistance training can strengthen the knee muscles, which helps to realign the knee joints and reduce the effects of knock knees.
Exercises and stretches that may help to strengthen the knees and help to realign the joints include:
- Side lunges with dumbbell
- Resistance band lying abduction
- Wall-supported squats
- Yoga butterfly flutters
- Glute bridges
Make sure to get your form right on each exercise. Performing the exercises with the incorrect form can worsen the effects of knock knees, but doing them with proper form can improve it.
Wear the Right Shoes
The shoes you wear can make a difference to knock knees. The right pair of shoes for knock knees will gently align your foot joints, taking strain off the knees.
When used in conjunction with other treatments, wearing the right shoes can have a significantly positive impact on your knees.
You should look for a shoe that has a firm heel counter to keep your foot in place, proper arch support for your foot, and enough stability to keep your joints properly aligned.
If you already have shoes and don’t want to replace them, you should consider using an orthotic instead. This is an insole you place inside your shoe after removing the existing one.
Although there are no insoles specifically made for this condition, the best insoles for knock knees provide arch and heel support that help to gently align the joints of the foot.
This can, in turn, realign the knee joints and take pressure off of them. In many cases, this can reduce pain and discomfort significantly.